This paper describes an advanced heat transfer fluid (HTF) consisting of a novel mixture of inorganic salts with a low melting point and high thermal stability. These properties produce a broad operating range molten salt and enable effective thermal storage for parabolic trough concentrating solar power plants. Previous commercially available molten salt heat transfer fluids have a high melting point, typically 140 °C or higher, which limits their commercial use due to the risk of freezing. The advanced HTF embodies a novel composition of materials, consisting of a mixture of nitrate salts of lithium, sodium, potassium, cesium, and calcium. This unique mixture exploits eutectic behavior resulting in a low melting point of 65 °C and a thermal stability limit over 500 °C. The advanced HTF described in this work was developed using advanced experiment design and data analysis methods combined with a powerful high throughput experimental workflow. Over 5000 unique mixtures of inorganic salt were tested during the development process. Additional work is ongoing to fully characterize the relevant thermophysical properties of the HTF and to assess its long term performance in realistic operating conditions for concentrating solar power applications or other high temperature processes.

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